Have you ever sat on the dinner table and been told stories about what you did as a child? Been reminded of your favourite toys and the first time you fell off your bicycle and cried your eyes out? I’ve heard a lot of those. Not very pretty stories though, I was a wild child or so I’ve been told. I was extremely violent, would scream and yell a lot and pull my hair out and scratch my sister with my nails, push people out of the house etc. I’ve done that to my dad too, mind it. And I was a racist too, I wouldn’t talk to relatively darker people. Now that I’ve given you a very bad impression of myself as a child, let me tell you I’m not the same anymore. What I’m trying to tell you here is that I don’t really remember all these obnoxious things I did as a kid, but my parents do, even my distant relatives that I’ve tortured so much do.
All along as a kid, I just really really wanted to grow up. That’s the gist of my childhood memory, and maybe bits and pieces here and there, But mostly, just this. And today, when I’m at the exit door of my teenage years, I can’t help but miss being a kid. The irony is, as a child, you just want to move ahead in time, and when you’re right where you wanted to be, you find yourself wanting to return. That’s how dysfunctional we all are. We want to see what comes next but we don’t realise what we’re leaving behind. Maybe the future isn’t as bright and sunny as you pictured it to be, but you’ve got now, and it’s all you have. But then again, you can’t expect that much sensibility out of a kid. When I look at myself today, I cannot actually even remotely associate myself with the person I was as a kid. I was so focused and innocent. I was a little pessimistic though, but I wanted to be good at something and I was willing to work for it. Now that there’s any lack of ambition even now, but there’s lack of work that goes behind it.
We grow up thinking we would get to be more carefree. We are more carefree, problem is that we shouldn’t be. As an adult, we’re supposed to be more mature and responsible and there’s a lot more expected out of us. But I think we somewhere fail to live up to those expectations due to our own expectations of growing up. Okay there’s glamour, parties, alcohol and all of that. But there’s heartbreaks, complications, lost friends, financial issues etc. Life is a lot more tangled, and there’s not much we can do to walk free of the mess. As a kid, the only kind of heartbreak you would have is if your favourite toy broke. And then the next day you were handed over another one. There was no carryover of sorrow. You were comfortable in your own skin. There was no pressure of competition, nobody was dying if you failed a test. You were free of the society’s web of their ideals. And whatever in the world you may have done, there was always an excuse to fall back on; you’re a kid. You were amiable and not picked and loved for how good or bad you look or well you dress. You were just so freaking adorable in everything you said and did. Your sharp tongue and bluntness was considered your sense of humor. You had the cutest little clothes, the softest hands, you’d be showered with kisses all the time and strangled with love.
And believe me, each and every person who has watched you grow into your present state, howsoever irksome and vindictive you may be, will love you unconditionally. And that’s not in appreciation of who you are today, but the happy memories you gave them as a child. Yes, there are perks to growing up. You get to be independent, you make your own choices, you’re free, untamed and you don’t have to explain yourself all the time. Your parties do not involve your parents, no more birthday hats on birthdays, you’re legally permitted to do a whole lot of things. There are always pros and cons of everything. But I think the cons here kind of outweigh the pros, especially when you compare it to those you enjoyed as a child. Innocence always wins over devilry. And I think each year you blow your birthday candles, you lose a little bit of that innocence. We just become shallower with passing time. We start keeping account of things that have no meaning. Have you ever come home after a long day to find your little baby cousin fiddling with things around and instantly see a smile spread across your face? That’s what childhood does. It has an inevitable healing and soothing effect. I would love to make someone happy that effortlessly again. So as much as you can, retain the child in you since you know, growing old is mandatory, growing up isn’t. And well, growing up isn’t half as much fun. “When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”
― John Lennon